Rabat - Travel distribution is experiencing profound changes. Changes in the number of tourists, their consumption habits and travel purchases significantly impact the sector.
Rabat – Travel distribution is experiencing profound changes. Changes in the number of tourists, their consumption habits and travel purchases significantly impact the sector.
Agents in the sector face substantial challenges in maintaining and conquering market shares, as well as anticipating the evolution of the competitive behavior of tourists and processing management methods.
In Morocco, the activity of travel agents is governed by Law No. “31.96,” related to the status of travel agencies. The law specifies the conditions for issuance and operation of travel agency licenses. The regulatory framework is supplemented by Decree No. 2-97-547 of 25 Jumada II 1418 (October, 28 1997) which sets the rules for implementing the Act.
The activities of a travel agency, as stipulated in Article 1 of the law, consist of: “The organization of trips, individual or group stays or sale of the products of this activity.
The provision of services during travels or holidays, including booking and issuing travel tickets, renting on behalf of its customers, means of transport, booking rooms in tourist accommodation establishments, supplying good hosting and / or restoration.
The provision of services related to tourist information, including the organization of city sites or monuments tours and guide services.
The production and sale of tourist packages, the transactions related to the organization of conferences or similar events, as well as tourism-related sports, hunting, fishing, mountain-related activities and art and cultural events, since all these operations include all or part of the provisions…”
Today, there are more than 950 travel agencies (about 1260 outlets), representing most players of travel distribution. More than half of these agencies are concentrated between Casablanca and Marrakech. They operate mainly in ticketing activities and organization of religious holidays (pilgrimage and Umrah), and experience less international travel distribution.
In order to open a travel agency in Morocco, the agency depends on obtaining approval from the Ministry of Tourism. These approvals are issued by a decision of the Minister of Tourism, after notice of a commission called, “Comité Technique Consultatif des Agences de Voyages” (CTCAV), within two phases,: a provisional license and a final license.
The first phase in creating a travel agency is obtaining the provisional license. Any person who decides to open a travel agency is required to file an “approval application” to the regional or provincial delegation of tourism in the perimeter of which the agency will be located.
After reviewing the case, the agency’s representative is summoned to a meeting for the CTCAV at the Ministry of Tourism in Rabat. The aim is to better study the creation record of the travel agency before scheduling a visit to the site of the potential agency.
If the Minister decides in favor of the agency, the representative from the agency is asked to deposit a down payment in the amount of 200,000 dirham to the “Deposit and Management Fund,” to insure against the financial consequences of professional liability.
The provisional license procedure results in a decision signed by the Minister of Tourism. The license is valid for a one year period.
According to Article 5 of Law 31.96, “the final licenses are issued where the parties have justified to the administration that (…) they have created a minimum number of permanent jobs (five jobs) and directed at least 50% of their total foreign currency business.” Thus, the travel agent is required to file with the delegation of tourism based on the scope of the agency.
After reviewing the case, the travel agent is summoned to CTCAV to present the annual report of the activity of the agency and its developmental prospects.
The final license is endorsed through a decision signed by the Minister of Tourism.
Transfer of headquarters
In accordance to Article 7 of the law [previously 31.96, keep consistent either 31-96 or 31.96] related to travel agencies, any change in the address of a travel agency should be reported to the tourism administration. Therefore, in case of change of the headquarters of a travel agency, the director is required to file certain documents at the delegation of tourism in the perimeter of the area in which the agency will be located.
The Ministry of Tourism, through its delegations, will visit the new location before issuing a transfer of headquarters decision signed by the Minister of Tourism.
Opening a branch
The process of establishing a branch begins with filing a set of documents at the delegation of tourism within the perimeter of the area in which is the headquarters will be located.
After reviewing the case, the administration conducts a tour of the local branch. The last phase of the procedure is the signature of the Minister of Tourism to allow the agency to open a branch.
Changing the head manager
The approval of a travel agency is largely based on the proposal presented by the head manager. Thus, any change of the head manager of a travel agency is submitted to the board for approval. To do so, the travel agent is required to file a request for a change of head manager at the delegation in the perimeter of the area in which the agency is located.
The letter of approval of the new head manager is signed by the Director of Regulation, Development and Quality after studying the case.
Renaming the agency
The procedure for changing the name of a travel agency begins by filing a request to the delegation of tourism, containing a certified copy of the oral deposition from the General Assembly that decided to rename the travel agency, and a certified copy of the “certificat negatif,” bearing the new name and a certificate of registration in the commercial registry with the new name.
A renaming decision is then signed by the Minister of Tourism.
The transfer of shares of a travel agency
The license of a travel agency is not transferable. Therefore, the sale of all shares does not give the new owner the right to operate the agency. The latter requires, in this case, to file a new folder for obtaining a license under the same conditions acquire a provisional license.
Closing a travel agency
We distinguish the difference between voluntarily closing the agency, in case of cessation of activity, and administrative closure or withdrawal of the license due to punishment.
In both cases, the closure of a travel agency is endorsed by the drafting and signing of a closure decision.
In the case that the closure is voluntary, an activity termination request must be sent to the delegation in the perimeter of the area in which the agency is located. The delegation conducts an investigation to determine the reasons for closure.
The decision is signed by the Minister of Tourism after consulting the CTCAV.